High Plains Thunder wrestlers excel at state tourney

By Vicki Hood
Posted 5/15/24

CASPER —Platte County was well represented at this year’s Wyoming Amateur Wrestling Association’s 8U-16 state tournament held in Casper’s Ford Center April 12-14.  

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High Plains Thunder wrestlers excel at state tourney


CASPER—Platte County was well represented at this year’s Wyoming Amateur Wrestling Association’s 8U-16 state tournament held in Casper’s Ford Center April 12-14. 

From a club of nearly 60 total members ranging in ages 4 to 18, Wheatland’s High Plains Thunder wrestlers placed 14 wrestlers in at least one event and several in multiple events. 

Contestants competed in three styles of wrestling including Folkstyle, Freestyle and Greco-Roman. While all three styles share the ultimate goal of pinning the opponent’s shoulders to the mat, each style is scored for a specific set of skills and moves. 

Folkstyle is the style high school and college kids wrestle in the United States. Points are awarded for control of the opponent. Freestyle is a faster-paced form of wrestling, points are awarded faster and matches often end more quickly. Both Folkstyle and Freestyle allow attacks both above and below the waist. Greco-Roman or Greco only allows attacks above the waist which usually results in lower scores due that limitation.

Brackets are divided by age and weight within the three styles. Wins are determined by a fall (F or pin), decision/(D-points) and technical fall (TF-a pre-determined number of points that indicates superiority; varies with style).

Wrestling in the Boys 10U/77 lb. brackets, Ryder Teten claimed the championship in both Folkstyle (D 7-3) and Greco (TF 8-0) and placed second in Freestyle (TF 10-0).

In the Boys 12U/63 lb. brackets, Hayden Unrein won the championships in Folkstyle (D 2-0) and Freestyle (D 10-2 and placed third in Greco (D 4-4).

In the Boys 14U/77lb. brackets, Coy Robertson was the champion in Greco (F 0:59), placed second in the Freestyle (F 3:23) and third in Folkstyle (F 2:08).

Wrestling in the Boys 12U/92 lb. brackets, Lukas Brennan was the Freestyle champion (F 3:02) and took second in Folkstyle (TF 15-0).

In the Girls 14U/127 lb. bracket, Taylor Gudahl was the champion, winning by fall in 1:45.

Sophie Meyer claimed the championship in the Girls 14U/163 lb. bracket, winning by fall in 2:26.

In addition to their individual awards, the wrestlers of High Plains Thunder were honored as the First Place Small Freestyle Team and Second Place Large Folkstyle Team.

On April 6, there was also a 6U State Tournament and High Plains Thunder’s Nathan Schroeder brought home a championship in the Boys 6U/32 lbs. bracket. Teammate Camden Drake competed in the 42 lb. bracket and finished in second place. 

On their Facebook page, there is a statement that says, “High Plains Thunder aims to promote good sportsmanship, teamwork and the sport of wrestling in our community’s youth.”

There is no doubt that High Plains Thunder President Jared Souza fully believes in that statement, and he credits the success of the program to the outstanding participation the club has from coaches to parents and all the volunteers it takes to provide a top notch wrestling program for the young people in Wheatland and surrounding area.

“It takes a lot of people to do this and when we travel to these tournaments, we need people in a number of positions beyond the coaches. We have to provide officials, pairers, timers and when we put on a tournament in Wheatland, those volunteer jobs increase substantially,” Souza said.

In his first two-year term as president, Souza says he truly appreciates the great support from the community and the parents. “We couldn’t do this without them and the kids would be the biggest losers in that. Wrestling teaches kids so much beyond just the physical part of the sport.”

Wrestling season runs primarily January through April. The program is open to any youth in the area and an organizational parent meeting is held each year in December. Wrestlers are divided by age and skill level and separate practices are held for age groupings depending on the number of wrestlers registered in each.

If you are interested in helping with the program or have a child that would like to become a member, you may contact the club at